[rescue] What a load of...

Sheldon T. Hall shel at artell.net
Thu Sep 27 15:16:39 CDT 2007

 Quoth Dan Sikorski ...
> I'd also wonder,  1965-2007, when prices are adjusted for 
> inflation, are 
> cars getting cheaper or more expensive?  Anyone have some 
> data on that? 

I'm a long way from the mass of old car books I have in storage; will
anecdotal data do?

In the mid sixties, the cheapest cars around were the Volkswagen Beetle,
various British things, and the Simca 1000.  In 1964, Downing Motors in
Atlanta advertised the Simca 1000 sedan for $1,565 plus shipping from the
Port of Entry. "POE" pricing was common on imports in those days; one of my
jobs as a teenager was taking the bus from my home in Atlanta down to
Jacksonville, FL, to drive various imports off the docks and back to
Downing's dealership.  I was cheaper than paying a trucker, I guess.  The
"transportation" charge to the car buyer was about $200, I think.  A
Coca-Cola in those days was $0.10 from a machine, usually.  $0.20 in some
machines.  They were universally a quarter by 1967, and pay phones were up
to a dime. 

Simca was Chrysler's French nameplate, and the Simca 1000 was basically a
bored-out FIAT 850 built in France under licence.  It was an utter POS, but
in those days Chrysler guaranteed all their cars for 5 years or 50,000
miles.  If the tractor-trailer full of crate motors parked outside Downing's
service department, or the two mechanics whose full-time jobs were putting
engines and clutches in Simcas, was any indication, the engine in the
average Simca 1000 lasted about 15,000 miles.  

So ... low-end car in 1964, $1,750 including transportation, but not
including sales tax, registration, etc.  Coca-Cola, $0.10.

Now, in 2007, a low-end car is about, what, $11,000, but a Coke from a
machine for less than a buck is hard to find.  So, taking the Coke machine
as the indicator of inflation, prices have gone up 1,000% since 1964.
However, the price of cars hasn't.  In addition, compared to a low-end car
of 40-whatever years ago, the modern car has massively better everything,
requires less service, and lasts longer.

And, yeah, gasoline cost between a quarter and $0.30 a gallon in the US back
then; it's $2.50-$3.00 now.  Ten times what it was then.

Over here in France, gasoline is about 1.50 Euros per liter (Diesel is much
less, about 1.15 E/l).  A Euro right now is about US1.40, and a gallon is
about 3.8 liters, so ...

3.8 * 1.5 * 1.4 = US$7.98/gallon.  Yep, eight bucks.  I have no idea what it
was in French Francs in 1964, but I'm sure it was a helluva lot less.  The
US dollar was worth a lot of francs then, too.  Ah, well, sic transit gloria
[1], I suppose.


[1] "Gloria threw up on the bus"

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